Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Ali, Feb 2, 2012.
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Bbfamily commitmentsband politicstitleBb bass players
Tubas and BBb especially, are susceptible to dents and dinks due to their size. The venues we play in are often not the best for such large instruments; squeezing into the front of a church or on stages that are too small, even walking on and off the stage is fraught. The consequence is a collection of small but primarily cosmetic damage. However drop one at your peril, we've all seen that kind of damage and I guess that any band that has invested multi-thousands on a set of instruments (or more likely been given lottery funding to buy them) should have insurance in place to cover that kind of damage.
Do bands have systems in place to ensure that their players (of all instruments) know how to maintain them? Regular cleaning etc. I don't think I have had any advice or lessons on this when learning. Take a look at the state of your bands music stands if you put them down and up on a regular basis - that will give you some idea of the mechanical knowledge of a majority of brass banders, over tightened nuts, tops folder without undoing etc. Ask some players to move the tuning slide and its like a work out at the gym - don't even both with the other slides theyve probably never been moved since it was bought.
No excuse for poor instruments just poorly looked after ones. Tubas eventually need a general overall if not a complete re-build. We have just traded some in to cover half the cost of re-building to as new condition three 15 year old BBbs and a couple of EEb.
I use my own instruments now (mainly because the band instruments are not in good shape), which I insure myself, I take care of them because its my investment, but also my policy doesnt cover me for damage under £75. (If its over the whole amount is paid, but there is a minimum claim threshold); so I am particularly senstitive to small dents and dings; which I admit I was less so when I was using a band instrument.
In fact as they werent mine, I should have taken even greater care of them, but having had a band instrument most of my life you tend to take them for granted; particularly if like me you are moved around a lot to fill holes/gaps.
Nothing focuses your attention so much as knowing you might have to fork out for the repair
and its not just tuning slides, but valvecaps and bottoms.
I unscrew slightly each cap/bottom when I put my instruments away, and move each slide everytime I take it out. They get a regularcleaning and greasing too.
But I dont think its always current players that are the source of problems, but what happens when an instrument goes out of use.
A couple of years ago I stopped playing the Bands Euph; having bought my own. When putting it away I got a plastic bag, removed out all the slides, valves, springs and and caps and placed them in the bag and stored them with the Euph.
Just after christmas, due to my own Euph havingt o go in for repair, I had cause to use the band one again.
Because it had been dismantled, on re-assembly everything obviously worked fine (after cleaning and re-lubricating).
I think that this 'decomissioning' is as important as proper maintenance during use.
Very true, we have recently started an instrument/asset review and the state of instruments left in all sorts of places has to be seen to be believed.
Some very good points Francis.The basses come back in as new condition.How many bands have scores of unused instruments that will never be played again.I m not asking bands to go out and spend 30 grand on new basses just a bit of common sense and an instrument refurbishment now and again.
Well it looks like I may be joining the fraternity on BBb !! Off for a blow with a band on Thursday night and thats where they may have a seat !!! I'll keep you posted on progress (or lack thereof!!).
Not sure whether a Neo awaits me though !!
I tell the jokes Phil
Good idea - you need more practice.
I was once told the bass I was playing was in a gig bag, I look at it, it clearly hadn't been opened up for years, probably longer than I've been on earth and wouldn't have been surprised if there was a dead man in it. Gladly there wasn't, but there was a rather old knackered old bass, sparks coming off the tuning slides as I tried to move them. Should have left it to enjoy its retirement.
Are you still playing Derek ?
I'm enjoying a new lease of life on the ever superior instrument that BBb is. Best purchase I've made since my EEb in the 1980s had been my Yamaha Neo, superb.
I asked a British friend of mine which tuba was commonly used in wind bands over there. In the U.S. the EEb is not common at all.
I have just recently gone back on BBb Bass due to our only BBb player (at the time) having a hip replacement. I have been on Bass Trom for a long time, but sometimes play EEb on small group jobs. I played in a really good Bass Section in the 90's for Moston & Beswick on BBb and thought I was ok. Since coming back to BBb I think I have 'matured' with age lol. Technique is fine, my sound is work-in-progress as I am getting used to a Perantucci PT88+ and can be a bit harsh. My depth and pedals are much better than 20 years ago.
When I played Bass Trom there was a shortage of B/Trom players, now I'm on BBb there is a mass shortage of BBb players...........am I acting as a catalyst here? Seriously though my band is lucky as our BBb (after his op) has gone on 2nd EEb, our 2nd EEb has gone on Solo BBb and I've slotted in on 2nd BBb and we have gained a great Bass Trom Player so we have a full Bass Section.
It's a shame also, when a figure of £150 for Whit Friday this year for a BBb player was being offered due to the shortage. I fully understand about the expenses/wages aspect of the movement for deps etc, but I dont think I've even charged £150 (in total) in the 35+ years I have been playing. Also the money dosen't factor in my decision to play for a band. Perhaps young learners could be persuaded to take up BBb by playing one of these new 'micro BBb's' is it Bubbie or something?
It is 'Mighty Midget' - http://www.wessex-tubas.co.uk/product/bbb-tornister-tuba/
I know of a few being played in brass bands, even for contests. One player commented;
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